Series discoveries, fall 2014


So I think I’ve seen all I want to of the new and returning series this fall and I’m ready to give my report.

I’m going to start with the earliest premieres and then progress by day of the week.

Please remember, these are my opinions only. Just because I’ve not been impressed doesn’t mean that the show is crap, nor does my approval carry with it any kind of magical power.

I just calls ‘em and I sees ‘em.

Saturday night – Doctor Who and Intruders

I was eagerly awaiting the new series and new Doctor, perhaps too much so. I’m sorry to say that I’m not enjoying Doctor Who this year.

Yes, I know, HERESY you shout, but let me ‘splain.

I get the thinking behind the whole gestalt. With a new set of regenerations, the writers are returning to the original Doctor for inspiration.

William Hartnell’s Doctor was clearly an alien. He was a bit imperious and his downfalls often resulted from his inability to relate to his human companions.

So I really tried to like the nod to the original. Unlike previous incarnations, including Hurt’s War Doctor, I haven’t been able to warm up to Twelve.

Maybe it’s that Nine’s “fantastic!” Ten’s “allons y!” Eleven’s “geronimo” and even the War Doctor’s “no more!” have been exchanged for Twelve’s “shut up, shut up, shut up (you stupid humans)!”

Perhaps it was his childish argument with Robin Hood about who would save the day, and Clara, while Clara went off and did it for them. Yay, Clara, but . . . really?

It could be all these hints of an overarching plot that aren’t going anywhere.

And maybe it’s the Doctor’s apparent cruelty in making Clara choose the fate of the moon/egg, and of humanity, Clara’s enraged, though justified, response, his inadequate apology, and her sudden 180, which not incidentally involves her becoming a big, fat liar to Danny. This is not going to end well.

BTW, I missed last night’s episode, so if any of these concerns have been addressed therein, I may yet recant.

So far, however, DW has been a bust for me. I hold out hope, but it’s a dwindling one.

Intruders turned me off in the first episode when, without context or explanation, a child drowned her cat rather than committing suicide as it appeared she was going to do. This was pure sensationalism for me and not even John Simm and Mira Sorvino could get me back after that.

Sunday night – Once Upon a Time and Outlander

OUaT continues to throw new Disney characters into increasingly bizarre situations. Now Will Scarlet (The Knave of OUaTiWonderland) has joined the cast as well as Anna and Elsa of Frozen. I keep wondering why Regina wants her ‘happily ever after’ when she sees in front of her that the happily ever afters that have occurred in Storybrook aren’t that happy.

Snow White is trying unsuccessfully to be mayor at the same time as she’s clinging desperately to her second child for fear of losing him (or otherwise screwing up colossally as she did with Emma). Emma, having lost everyone she’s loved so far in one way or another, can’t let herself be loved by Killian (Captain Hook) and Killian’s old piratical evil is surfacing ala Idol Hands. Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin), may be married, but he’s deceiving his wife and up to his old tricks. Even Robin Hood, though back with his wife, Marion, no longer loves her and his wife has been struck with a freezing curse.

All these happy endings are pretty miserable, but that’s what keeps me watching 🙂

I have loved the first half of Outlander so far. It’s been lush and evocative, and the acting has been excellent.

There have been some deviations from the novel, but they’ve been, in my opinion, well-chosen for the television adaptation, and necessary to tell the story in that form.

The only thing I’m unhappy with is having to wait until next year for the rest of the dear thing 😦

Monday night – Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, and Castle

Gotham’s okay, but since I know the eventual fate of the main characters, finding out how they got there hasn’t been enough of a hook to keep me watching. And the mob bosses? Meh.

Sleepy Hollow is still good, in my opinion. I like the supernatural retelling and the creative pulling in of various odd historical facts around some of the historical figures with whom Crane was acquainted. The writers of this show know how to torture their protagonists. They’ve clearly studied how to construct a story that holds interest. It is supposed to be about the apocalypse, you know 😉

I’m still hanging in with Castle. I was getting a little weary with it for a while. Kate’s getting a job with the FBI was clearly not a fan favourite and they killed that story line quickly and awkwardly. Since then, though plans for the wedding were progressing, Castle’s character hasn’t been. They went too far back to the days where Castle was a thorn, albeit an entertaining one, in Kate’s side.

With the new season and the new overarching mystery of where Castle was for two months, things have revived a bit, though I must say, I’m still waiting for Castle to develop a few skills. He’s only been assisting the police with investigations for, what, five, six years? His dad is a black ops specialist. I’m thinking something has to come of all this, and soon, or it might go the way of Bones in my books.

Tuesday night – The Flash, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Forever

The Flash isn’t promising for me. Characters seem to change their behaviour on a dime. Even if it’s for a good reason, it’s not realistic.

Yay for Canadian actors, though. It’s nice to see Tom Kavanaugh on the screen again.

MAoS is another series I’m hanging in with. Just when a mystery gets to the irritating point, or a character’s behaviour becomes too bizarre, the saving reveal happens.

I’m impressed with Forever. It’s a medical drama/police procedural like so many others out there, but the introduction of an immortal character and the quirkiness with which his particular affliction manifests is fascinating. His relationship with adopted child (now apparent father), Abe, is lovely, and the mystery behind the other immortal is compelling. Good job, so far.

Wednesday night – Arrow, Criminal Minds, Stalker, and Dominion

Arrow, like The Flash, is okay. I stick with it despite the soap opera like regularity with which the characters fall in and out of love (and with whom) and the bizarre family secrets the just seem to keep on popping up. I like the dual plotline that seems to carry Oliver Queen’s time on the island (and elsewhere) apace with current events in Starling City. That’s about it, though.

Criminal Minds is a kind of guilty pleasure for me. Even though I know profiling has not been proven to solve a case on its own, I just can’t help but tune in to find out what depraved psychopath the BAU is tackling this week. The addition of Jennifer Love Hewitt is an interesting choice as well, and I’m happy to keep watching for my favourite eye candy, Shemar Moore.

Stalker isn’t my favourite of the new season (that place has to go to Outlander), but I like Maggie Q’s damaged character. I’m not so fond of Dylan McDermott’s character, though. I don’t think it was a wise choice to make the man a stalker himself. Even though his concern is his son, I can’t help but think ‘sleazebag’ every time I see him trying to wriggle his way out of the tight corners he repeatedly gets himself into.

Plus, he’s really convincing as a sleazebag. His character is not meant to be sympathetic, and no matter how much he helps the stalker unit bag the other baddies, I think his character is not intended to be a series regular and that Maggie Q will put him away when the truth emerges.

We’ll see.

Dominion didn’t capture me at all. In the opening scene of the first episode, we see a lone man take on a whole bar full of fallen angels. He’s snuck out of his walled city without permission and battles one of the enemy all the way home, his driving a jeep and the fallen angel flying in to smash windows and nearly kill him.

Once he’s revealed to be the “chosen one,” lost his love to an arranged marriage, and the true strength of the enemy is understood, he becomes this uncertain sniveller. Even seeing Tony Head on screen again wasn’t enough to save the series for me. Then again, I was never enamoured of Merlin, either.

Thursday night – Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, Gracepoint, and How to Get Away with Murder

Bones has gone the way of the dodo for me. It was suffering too much from the same kind of character stagnation as Castle, but moreso.

It’s been on for nine slogging seasons and still, Temperance Brennan hasn’t learned the nuances of human behaviour, colloquialism, and though she started the series as a true kick-ass character with wicked martial arts skills, she’s taken a back seat, becoming the brilliant but alien squint/baby momma.

They keep on killing off characters or putting them through hell, but I can’t care anymore.

Grey’s Anatomy, post-Christina Yang, is still decent drama. Like, Criminal Minds, it continues to be a guilty pleasure of mine.

Gracepoint. I’m watching it, but really, I’m wondering the whole time why they just didn’t show Broadchurch instead. Why do North American producers feel compelled to recreate BBC shows for the NA audience? And David Tennant with an American accent . . . I’m sorry, but no.

How to get away with murder is interesting. It’s also a departure for creator Shonda Rhimes. We have another dual storyline, each being told from a different end of a single university semester. While the chronologically earlier storyline progresses at a galloping pace toward its already revealed climax (this was a savvy risk to take), the other storyline repeats the events of a single night, revealing new and intriguing details each time. All of this awesome storytelling is wrapped in the case of the week as Analise Keating puts her students to work for her law firm.

There’s all kinds of unethical going on here, but I don’t care one bit. Unlike Gotham, I need to find out the how of the what, what, what the hell?!??! that lends the series its name.

Friday night – Grimm, Constantine, and Z Nation

Grimm continues to hold my interest (surprise, surprise). Another creative re-imagining of how fairy tales might be “real.” It’s just started, so I don’t have a lot to say about this season yet.

Constantine is another DC comic brought to Network TV. So far, so good. Constantine is another damaged character who is unapologetic about it. He’s also well aware of what an asshole he is, but he’s determined to save the soul of a girl that he lost to hell, even if it means he’ll be damned in the process.

Technically, he’s already damned, but he’s trying, and that’s what’s hooked me.

Z Nation was another series that lost me in the first episode. A Walking Dead wannabe, the story is one of a world that has fallen to the predations of a zombie plague, but there’s one man who’s survived an experimental vaccine for the disease. He’s the only man who’s immune and he must somehow get across the country to a research facility that could use his immunity to manufacture a cure.

What lost me? When they stop off at a town, they rescue a baby from a car crash. There’s no evidence it’s been bitten, and yet, it turns, and when it turns, it somehow starts running around like a speed demon and develops a malevolent intelligence.

That was it for me . . .

I had to be picky. I’m not into comedies or dramas much, so there are a lot of new offerings I haven’t sampled.

For what it’s worth, that’s my opinion of the new television season.

Have any shows struck your fancy this year? I know, some of you are good, and you don’t watch television, but let me know what you think anyway.

TTFN!

Series Discoveries

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2 thoughts on “Series discoveries, fall 2014

  1. Autumn definitely brings a crop of new TV series here in the UK too. Am looking forward to ‘The Missing’ which starts this week – it follows a father looking for his abducted child several years after he disappeared. I just hope it lives up to the hype!

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